Interested in helping our feathered friends?

The Feather Factor by Sherry Lidstone

This year myself and hundreds of other birders will be spending a few hours here and there monitoring the nesting birds in their respective areas (assigned 10 x10 km squares).

Mapping birds is quickly becoming a world-wide phenomenon. It is fun to participate of course, but the results are an invaluable foundation of information for conserving birds and their ecosystems.

The BC Breeding Bird Atlas Project is a big task to undertake in such a large province with a small number of residents and even fewer birdwatchers. But the project offers opportunities for adventure in some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. New discoveries will be made because many areas of the province have never before been visited by birders.

Birds can tell us important things about our environment. Their presence and abundance provide an early warning of the state of ecosystems, and their eggs and tissues track trends of contaminants in the environment.

Over 300 species of birds breed each year in British Columbia – more than any other province in Canada. Sixty-five species breed nowhere else in Canada and for several other species, British Columbia holds the majority of the world population. For these reasons, British Columbia plays a pivotal role in Canada’s bird conservation efforts.

Anyone can participate in the Atlas. All you need is a pair of binoculars and some birdwatching experience or the desire to learn about birds. You do need to be able to identify birds correctly but you do not need to be expert – all records are welcome.

The coordinator will recommend an area (10×10 km square) where you should plan to spend at least 20 hours over the five years of the project. You are also encouraged to report observations done outside of your square, anywhere else in B.C.

The Atlas project is fun, informative, healthy, and simple to do. There are three levels of participation.

You choose an atlas square that you want to visit and then……

1. Tell them where you saw breeding birds. This is as simple as recording where you saw a bird at a nest, feeding its young or where you heard it singing.

2. Tell them how many birds you saw. Here you will join a team of experienced birders who follow a predetermined route to record all birds seen or heard first thing in the morning.

3. Tell them about birds that are rare or nest in colonies. They provide a list of species in your area that are of high conservation concern because they are rare or nest in colonies. You provide them with details such as how many birds you saw, where they nested, and how many young were present.

If you’d rather not join in this undertaking but have active nests on your property or know of nesting birds in your area, “please” let me know.

For further information on this program, see the website below or send me an email and I can put you in touch with the regional coordinator.

Please feel free to share your sightings and/or new arrivals at your feeders. If you have any questions, just ask…if I don’t know the answer I’ll find someone who does.

Feedback is more than welcome and most definitely encouraged.

I can be reached at, please though, no photos as I have very limited bandwidth.

Keep those binoculars and cameras ready and until next time, Happy Birding!